Friday, November 21, 2008

Fox and Hounds

The hills in the background are the ridge dividing Posey Run and Three Lick Run. They run westward into Tulley Ridge and the “ Free State", a popular place to hunt. The occassion is the 35th birthday of Minerva Riffle, Georgia's mother. This photo by Cecil Thompson, Burnsville photographer, was taken in 1911.
by David Parmer
The Chase
The scent of the fox was in the air. The bonfire on the ridge was burning bright and the dogs were straining at their leashes and raring to joust with the crafty Reynard. The baying of the fox hounds filled the air and could be heard for miles in the cold, crisp air on the ridge dividing Posey Run and Three Lick which extended into Tulley Ridge and the “Free State,” a large tract of wilderness in the Rocky Fork area owned by the Koppers Company of Pittsburgh. Farmers from Grass Run, Dumpling Run and Rocky Fork paused from splitting wood, milking “Bossie,” or feeding their own dogs, as Bud Hamilton’s pack was loosed on the scent. The whole star-lit night was alive with the excitement of the sounds of the hunt.
Bud Hamilton and his friends loved a sport that dated back to Europe, but had developed into a traditional American pastime in the century or so since George Washington and La Fayette were chasing the fox in Colonial America.

Bud Hamilton, Fox Chaser
Bud Hamilton, born in 1884, died in 1938 at the relatively young age of fifty-four, but in terms of the hunt, Bud was an octogenarian. A more dedicated chaser of the wily fox probably never existed on Oil Creek and his dedication to the sport was oft trumpeted by Uncle Zeke in his Buzzardtown News column. Readers of Uncle Zeke’s column throughout Lewis and Braxton County came to know that fox chasing and Bud Hamilton were one and the same terms.
Right: an American Fox Hound.
For more on hunting and hounds see the entry about Coon Hunting by Tom Jeffries.
Uncle Zeke on
Bud Hamilton and his Hounds
Newt Blake, aka Uncle Zeke, was a near neighbor of Bud Hamilton and a close friend. They both attended the United Brethren Church in Orlando. They were also long-time trustees, along with A. N. [Alfred Newton] Posey, of the Posey Run School, having been appointed by the Salt Lick District Board of Education. Uncle Zeke was also a very close and long-time friend to Bud’s grandfather-in-law, W. T. [William Taylor] Riffle of Posey Run. Probably most important of all, Bud’s propensity to collect hound dogs served as grist for Uncle Zeke’s grist mill, known as the Buzzardtown News. This part of the story of Bud Hamilton will focus on the musings of Uncle Zeke about Bud Hamilton and his night-howling hound dogs.
November 12, 1918
“Some people say that every dog has its day. As dog days are now out, I wonder what the balance of Bud Hamilton’s dogs will do, as there were not enough dog days to go round all of them.”
February 1, 1921
“Someone said there must not be anybody in Buzzardtown but O. P. [Oliver Paulser] McCord and Fred Lemley. Listen, Bruce Posey told George Riffle that Mart Posey told Roy Riffle that Rich Posey told Jack Riffle that Ezra Posey said that he heard John Posey tell Ellis Riffle to tell Taylor Riffle that Bud Posey told Marion Riffle that Sanford Posey wanted Lee Riffle to tell Oscar Posey that Jarrett Fox saw Rye Heater telling Tom Conley that Ernie Fox had overheard Joe Skinner tell Poke Sharp that P. N. [Patrick Newton= Uncle Zeke himself] Blake said that Fred Lemley told O. P. McCord that Red Beckner wanted Bud Hamilton to keep his infernal hounds at home.”
May 24, 1921
“For a horse, dog, or fish story, see Bud Hamilton.”
November 9, 1921
Bud Hamilton attended the fox hunter’s reunion at Jane Lew last week. Bud is all “O.K.” when it comes to fox chasing. I imagine when he appeared on the scene everybody had to take a back seat. We feel proud that our town could send so able a representative. If anyone belonging to the fox hunter’s fraternity can tell a bigger one than our old friend Bud, just send him over this way and he can most assuredly smoke a White Owl at my expense.”
June 5, 1924
Poke Sharp had to go to the hospital to get a thorn taken out the heel of his scythe. George Riffle complains of a bad headache in his stomach. O. P. McCord is overworked hiving bees. Jess Cole has a severe pain in the knee of his pants, and Bud Hamilton is knocked out with a bad case of dog fever.”
Fox hunters' Reunion in Burnsville. Bud Hamilton is in the back, labled.
June 19, 1924
Bud Hamilton is at a loss to know what to name his baby, as he has all the best names taken up for his dogs.”
August 24, 1922
Bud Hamilton’s dog house fell down the other night and killed all of his dogs except eleven.”
October 19, 1922
“A few nights ago when Bud Hamilton was fox chasing, he acipurposely broke the ten commandments.”
December 14, 1922
Bud Hamilton says his profit on dogs last year amounted to just one hundred eighty dollars. Sic ‘em, Shep.
February 1, 1923
“A good friend tells me that Bud Hamilton, who blows wells for the Philadelphia Gas Company, took shelter the other day under a flat rock near a well. The rock happened to be a deadfall that Jack Sam Posey set to catch skunks. Bud happened to touch the trigger in someway and down came the rock on Bud’s meat house. Fortunately, he was not badly hurt. It was a long time before Jack knew what kind of animal had been under his deadfall.”

March 15, 1923
“Our town is considerably on the boom this spring. Bill Henline has got out seven cross ties for Jack Posey; Oscar Posey and Lee Skinner have each built a house in their imagination; George Riffle has set two hens; P. N. Blake is dealing in cats; Bud Hamilton has five dogs; O. P. McCord owns two cows and a piece; Burr Skinner is improving on business transactions; and our old cow has mended up until she gives nearly a pint of milk; M. J. Riffle [Taylor Riffle's son Marion Johnson] has secured a quarter’s worth of Mail Pouch for the summer; A. N. Posey sold a peck of potatoes last week; Charley Riffle talks about going to church some day; Tom Brown saws a log a day in spite of all he can do; and Poke Sharp just keeps a-pokin’”
April 5, 1923
“I notice that Flatwoods is calling for the state capitol. Now, look here Mr. Flatwoods, I think you are just a little off. Buzzardtown is the place for the capitol. Now listen! We have two branches of the B & O Railroad running through our town, a railroad junction, a watering station, two section foremen, one saw-mill, several gas well (besides a lot of other gas), one school building, a Mormon Temple, one local M. P. preacher, two class leaders, a host of church members, and a good lot of Christians. We have plenty of water, plenty of mud (in winter), plenty of sickness (when we’re not well), plenty of money and plenty of brains. We can furnish a good site by moving our little buzzard coop a few rods to the southeast; and if Bud Hamilton will agree to move his doghouse just a little bit the other way and Joe Skinner takes the hump out of his house, we will be ready to lay a foundation as soon as “tater plantin’” is over. Now, we think this is a fair, square bargain if there is anyone at the other end of it. Leastwise, it should be thought upon, scanned at, and talked about. On with the capitol.”
Above, right: portrait of T. E. "Ed" Jeffries (1869-1943) of Burnsville, father of Opal and Coleman Jeffries of Orlando, with his hound.
Below, left: John Gibson poses with his hound.
May 17, 1923
Bud Hamilton has only four hounds and a half now. One is only half-hound.”
June 7, 1923
Bud Hamilton and J. F. [ John Fountain] Posey expect to get an airplane so the can fox chase in up-to-date style. Gosh, go to it, boys. Sic ‘em, Tige.”

July 5, 1923
“Dog days started at Bud Hamilton’s this year.” “Bud Hamilton’s car load of bark he ordered for his hounds arrived yesterday.”
August 9, 1923
We recently heard Poke Sharp say that Bill Foster told him that Morgan Riffle said that John Posey told him that he overheard Ellis Riffle tell Newt Blake that it was a positive fact that Bill Henline heard Bud Hamilton tell Joe Skinner that Lee Riffle told Rye Heater that Wade Mick said he intended to get married right away, dog days or no dog days.”
September 13, 1923
Bud Hamilton has agreed to help out on salary this year if the expounder will accept a hound pup as pay.”
November 1, 1923
Bud Hamilton attended a dog reunion somewhere last week, or I think that is what they call it. You ‘mout’ ax Dr. Lohan.”
January 24, 1924
“The people in our town are pretty well employed this winter. John Posey smokes his pipe; Bud Hamilton feeds his dogs; Gene Butler is trying to skate; George Riffle sings for the kids; Jack Posey reads the news; Poke Sharp gathers eggs; Wade Mick goes to W. T. [William Taylor] Riffle’s; A. N. Posey reads the Democrat; O. P. McCord tells whoppers; Jim Hyatt and P. N. Blake visit Orlando; Lee Riffle traps snow birds; Fred McCord pops corn; R. M. [Roy Mertie “Boss”] Riffle studies foolishness; Joe Skinner is taking lessons on hogology; Clem Crislip cusses rats; J. L. [Jarrett Lee] Fox reads the Bible; Uncle Zeke goes to church; and everyone else talks politics.”

January 24, 1924
“We have been informed that Stokes Heater of Burnsville and Bud Hamilton have been doing some ‘dorg’ swapping this past week.”
February 28, 1924
“Since Bud Hamilton’s wife has been sick and Bud has been doin’ the cookin,’ his hounds have nearly starved to death. Well, I feel sorry for any hound that would have to eat Bud’s cookin.’”

February 28, 1924
Bud Hamilton dreamed the other night that a dog was biting him. He kicked at it and broke three toes against the wall. Bud says he is going to sleep with his shoes on from now on.”
February 14, 1924
Bud Hamilton has been taking a few lessons in houndology the past week.”
April 10, 1924
Bud Hamilton is trying to learn one of his dogs to run an automobile. He says the darn fool won’t run anything else.”
April 10, 1924
“During the recent snow, Bud Hamilton gathered a coffee sack full of rabbit tracks to practice his hounds on during the summer.”
June 5, 1924
“A new boy arrived at the home of Bud Hamilton and wife one day last week. Bud says it’s a Democrat but he would swap it for a good fox hound.”
November 20, 1924
Bud Hamilton says the best time he ever had was at a dog camp meeting down in Harrison County recently. (‘Spect Bud did the preachin’)”
February 25, 1925
“The biggest tear up we ever had in our town took place the other day when one of Bud Hamilton’s hounds tore up a pair of overalls.”

April 30, 1925
Bud Hamilton has bought the Philadelphia gas office here and will move it and rebuild it at his home. He is going to get enough room for his dogs.”

August 27, 1925
Bud Hamilton has about decided to swap his hounds for a Ford. He says he wants something that will run.”
September 10, 1925
“The fox hunter’s picnic Saturday night on Sawyers Ridge was a grand success. About three hundred people – men, women, children and dogs, were present. Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves hugely, especially J. C. Dennison of Weston who managed to get on the outside of a gallon of ice cream besides several pieces of cake and pie. He was about to sail into the portion of food prepared for the hounds but was prevented by Lee Dorsey who assured him he could have all the ice cream and cake he wanted. John declared it was the grandest time of his life and he never enjoyed himself more. Well, all is well that ends well.”
June 10, 1926
Bud Hamilton contemplates getting a few more dogs when ‘dog days’ set in.”

June 17, 1926
Red McCormick of Weston took the prize at the fox chaser’s lying contest last week with Bud Hamilton a close second.”

December 23, 1926
“Including Bud Hamilton’s dogs, our town has a population of more than one hundred inhabitants.”

December 30, 1926
“The wind blew so hard last Saturday night, it “blowed” one of Bud Hamilton’s dogs into Webster County; blowed the shoes off Emmett Atkinson; blowed Alva Barnett’s mule out of the barn through a knot hole; blowed the cracks out of Reuben Blake’s fence; and came mighty nigh blowing the truth out of Uncle Zeke.”

January 10, 1927
“We did not hold any municipal election this year owing to the fact that Bud Hamilton had most of the population of our town out fox chasing on that day, except “Tramp” and two other dogs.”

February 23, 1927
“Times are actually improving in our community: Bud Hamilton added another board to his dog house; A. N. Posey finished husking corn; R. M. Riffle repaired his foot log; George Riffle swapped his cow for a chew of Mail Pouch; Auzy Fox made three palings and got out a couple of posts; Reuben Blake has ordered a bushel of tobacco seed; Fred Riffle took from his incubator the other day a coffee sack full of young chickens and two gallons of strained honey; Tank [Lloyd] Henline, the noted knife trader, can be found at his post any day with a supply of knives, pieces of knives and knife handles; Reuben Blake curried his mule the other day for the first time this winter by dragging an iron toothed harrow over it; Billy Barnett is clearing a piece of ground that is so poor that two men couldn’t raise a disturbance on it with a gallon of moonshine whiskey; P. N. Blake is still working at his old job; Ray Fox has ordered another string for his fiddle, making two in all; and J. F. Posey’s pipe is so strong he has to chain it to the porch banister while he smokes.”

March 3, 1927
“I hope Dr. Miller will keep his wampus cat in the vicinity of Flatwoods. If Bud Hamilton or Hob Henline get a squint at it, it’s a dead cat.”

May 12, 1927
Bud Hamilton has a hound that actually steals chickens.”

May 19, 1927
Bud Hamilton’s famous fox hound proved to be a real chicken dog.”
May 19, 1927
“Following are the proceedings of our last court held here: John Posey was given three days for smoking a strong pipe and stifling the neighbors. Newt McQuain was fined for overdoing the speed limit in a civil conversation. Bud Hamilton was sentenced to five days in the dog house for telling the truth (everyone knew Bud didn’t mean to tell it), and Reuben Blake got a life sentence for being so ugly.”

June 30, 1927
“Our town is well supplied with telephones, vitographs, graphophones, radiophones, and fox hounds.”

June 30, 1927
“I think people shouldn’t allow more than six or seven of their dogs to bark at one time, at least when a person is wrapped up in the arms of Morpheus.”

October 27, 1928
Bud Hamilton attended the fox chaser’s reunion in Pennsboro last week.”

January 12, 1928
“Following are names and occupations of some of our townsmen: Newton McQuain, narrator; Homer Skinner, hunter and trapper; Lee Booth, B & O pumper; Joe Skinner, track foreman; Bud Hamilton, fox chaser; Emma Leixner, barber; Ray Fox, fiddler; Bill Beckner, fisherman; Fred Riffle, poultryman; Oras Stutler, driller; Martin Fox, telephone operator; and John Posey and Tom Conley, smokers.”

February 16, 1928
“There hasn’t no one been anywhere since our last letter ‘cepting Bud Hamilton. He took Trip, Trim, Towser, Trixie and Tramp, Fife , Fiddle, Flute and Drum and went fox chasin’ but I ain’t goin’ to say anything ‘bout it.”

October 4, 1928
“I had forgotten my biscuits in the stove and they were burned black as Cudge. I had forgotten to put salt or soda in them – in fact – they weren’t hardly fit for Bud Hamilton’s hounds.”

May 16, 1929
“Billy the Newspacker just came in after searching for news and this is what the little scamp reported. John Posey has purchased a new set of springs for his lettuce bed. And just as soon as the sap raised a little more Bud Hamilton was going to peel the bark form his dogs. And that George Riffle was going to make wine out of his hogs by removing the “s” from swine. And Ray Fox’s fiddle has four keys and “nary” lock. And Tom Conley put wooden legs to his pipe so it could walk. That Mrs. E. L. Fox [ne. Carrie Posey] had threshed a bushel of butter at one churnin’. And then the little imp asked who reformed the reform school. Billy always did remind me of his granddaddy.”
June 6, 1929
Bud Hamilton is as mad as he can be. He says two hungry women of Orlando stopped at his house one day last week and ate all the bread he had prepared for his dogs. No wonder he’s mad.”
June 13, 1929
“It is claimed that while Jack Sam was plowing corn in our town one day last week, Bud Hamilton’s dogs bayed him thinking he was a groundhog.”

October 3, 1929
“Bud Hamilton is erecting a building which is to serve as a dwelling, a barn, a kennel and a garage. Winter Freeman is doing the carpentry work.”
October 24, 1929
Bud Hamilton attended a fox chaser’s reunion at Grantsville the first of the week.”

June 26, 1930
Bud Hamilton says something happened to all his dogs; and now he hasn’t a blessed dog to his back.”

The citations listed above are a sampling of Bud Hamilton’s hunting or hound collecting activities. It seems that Bud spent many a devoted hour to the sport he loved.

Fox Hunting Companions
Sharing a love to hunt is invaluable to a hunter. Hunters not only enjoy the companionship with their dogs on the hunt, but also the fraternity of other hunters who likewise enjoy the brisk night air and racing across the tops of ridges under starry skies, chasing a fox, with nothing but the sounds of baying hounds in the air. Bud’s brother-in-law, Grafton Riffle, was Bud’s frequent companion in the quest to corner old Reynard. Ray “Jiggs” Fox reported to Uncle Zeke that Grafton goes fox chasing “about four nights of every week.” Hob [George Oliver] and Dock [Oscar] Henline were also devotees of the hunt who chased the fox with Bud. A bemused Uncle Zeke once reported that Hob Henline’s hounds chased Alva Barnett’s mule one night for many miles, thinking it was a fox. Newt McQuain, a Posey Run resident until he moved to Flesher’s Run, and Homer Skinner, at least until he moved to the Carney farm at the head of Clover Fork, were frequent hunting companions and accompanied Bud on the night treks in search of old bushy tail. Bill Finley, a section foreman for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, who lived at Gem, frequently accompanied Bud on the hunt. All hunters were fair game for Uncle Zeke, and Bud’s hunting companion was no exception. Uncle Zeke remarked that “Bill Finley ….has the most intelligent dog in many states. When Bill goes out with his mountain rifle, the dog will hunt nothing but squirrels. When he takes out his shotgun, the dog hunts nothing but rabbits. When he reaches for his fishing pole, that dog runs out behind the barn and begins to dig bait. We don’t vouch for the truthfulness of the above item.” Posey Run resident H. C. Snyder, a Philadelphia Company employee, was an early fox chasing companion of Bud until he moved out west to greener pastures. Cornering an unexpected prey one night while fox chasing, Bud Hamilton, H. C. Snyder and Grafton Riffle, were identified to Uncle Zeke’s newspaper readership as new entrants into the “skunk business.”

There were other nimrods besides Bud Hamilton around Orlando who made life difficult for the foxes of Oil Creek. In his March 13, 1924 column Uncle Zeke said that “It is rumored that Jack Skinner’s hounds run Ad. Riffle three miles the other night thinking he was a possum.” In his column of two weeks earlier, Uncle Zeke reported that “Dave Bragg of Clarksburg is visiting our town. Dave was formerly a resident of this vicinity and was a terror of the possum and raccoon, and even the fox had to give leg-bail when Dave when old “Lead” started on the warpath.”
. . . . .
Comment by Donna Gloff
Who are all these folks Uncle Zeke mentions? With the help of David Parmer I tried to identify them. We got most of them:
Ad. Riffle Unknown.

George Riffle There were several, probably the son of Jacob I. by his second wife, who married Bessie Fox. George and Bessie lived on Posey Run or nearby and were neighbors of Uncle Zeke.

Charlie Riffle There were several, probably the son of Steward L and Abbie Blake Riffle, m. Donie Blake, father of Josie Beckner and Brownie Riffle, among others.

Lee Riffle unsure

Ellis Riffle b. 1892, son of Charles & Donie (Blake) Riffle

Fred Riffle, b. 1907, s/o Roy Mertie & Idena Riffle. “poultryman”

R. M. [Roy Mertie “Boss”] Riffle 1881-1956, s/o John Scott & Mary Ann (Skinner) Riffle

W. T. [William Taylor] Riffle 1846-1934, m. Margaret Posey

Morgan Riffle John Morgan Riffle, b. 1868 to Charles & Sarah Wine Riffle

Jack/Jack Sam Posey, lived on Three Lick and was connected I believe by marriage to
Arch Riffle, the groundhog hunter. Jack Sam was also frequently mentioned by Uncle Zeke as a groundhog hunter.

John Posey John Fountain Posey, aka J. F. Posey, a near neighbor of Uncle Zeke.

Jack Skinner unknown

A. N. Posey Andrew Newton, 1855-1935, s/o Alfred & Christine Posey

Joe Skinner 1868-1942 m. Effie Mae Riffle

Homer Skinner, 1883-1923, m. Bessie Riffle

Auzy Fox, Ozzie Fox. Ozzie died in 1936 at age 57. Ozzie married Martha Henline.
Martin Fox, telephone operator, son of Jarrett and Carrie (Posey) Fox. Martin's sister Della married Jesse Cole

J. L. [Jarrett Lee] Fox 1871-1945, m. Sarah McCord

Ray Fox, 1901-1962, fiddler: Clarence Ray Fox married Lillie Gay Keller.

O. P. McCord 1858-1926 Oliver Paulser McCord m. Della Bird Hyer

Fred McCord 1907-1944, s/o O P & Della McCord

Lee Dorsey worked for the Burnsville Wholesale Grocery in Burnsville as an accountant from around 1915 to around 1936 or so when he moved to Huntington.

Charles Winter Freeman b. 1922, moved his family to the Clarksburg area in the mid 1930's or so. They lived in the Posey Run area. Winter was the son of Charles Freeman and Maude (Mick) Freeman, the daughter of Hudson Mick and Elizabeth Heath Mick.

Stokes Heater unknown.
Jim Hyatt Jim Hyatt worked for the Philadelphia Gas Company but went out west in the 1920's I believe.

Emma Leixner, barber; Emma was a Posey who married a Leixner who possibly from Connecticut. She returned to the Orlando area not long after she was married.

Dr. Lohan was a veterinarian who lived at Burnsville in the 1910's, 1920's and 1930's. His wife ran the former Horner Hotel which went under during the Depression. From Burnsville they moved to Glenville and first operated a restaurant and later a hotel and restaurant.

Gene Butler b. 1905 s/o Thomas Butler who was murdered in lumber camp, & Gertrude E. Skinner

Poke Sharp b.1845 James Polk Sharp, s/o James Sharp & Catherine Heater

Wade Mick
1876-1939, owned Orlando’s grist mill

P. N. Blake 1867-1951 Patrick Newton Blake= Uncle Zeke

Lee Booth, b. 1888, m.Eda Skidmore. B & O pumper;

Clem Crislip 1887- 1958 Joe & Effie Skinner’s daughter Opal

Dave Bragg , b. abt 1850, son of Jesse & Ida Bragg, m. Sarah Almorine Posey.

Bill Beckner, fisherman; b. 1892, m. Jossie Riffle, worked for B&O.

Oras Stutler, driller for Hope Gas Co.; 1896-1968, m. Edith Skinner

Fred Lemley probably Alfred 1877-1952, s/o George & Rachel,

Bill Foster, s/o Brandon & Amanda (Riffle) Foster

Emmett Atkinson b, 1874, s/o Lucy Riffle & Stephen Atkinson

Newt McQuain, George Newton McQuain, 1859-1948, m. Ida Eckle

Tom Brown probably s/o Isaac Newton & Elzara Brown

Tom Conley, could be 1878-1963 s/o Amanda Wine or , b. 1886, s/o Mary Ellen Dempsey

1 comment:

  1. I am searching for a fox hunter reunion picture taken in the early 1900's in Hundred West Viriginia. Several relatives are in the picture.